Saturday, September 11, 2010

There's no point explaining crime counts...

Hal Pepinsky,,
Nine-eleven 2010
Calling all criminologists: google Adrian Schoolcraft, and then for free also, check out the 2000 article/chapter I wrote in 2000 on COMPSTAT in New York City at . As I’ve said all along, reported crime trends tell us more about the behavior of the reporters than about behavior of the reported. I was lucky enough to hear this week’s program 414 on This American Life, where Adrian Schoolcraft plays recordings of the heat he took for not keeping Brooklyn crime statistics in line. Pardon me for not suppressing an I-told-you-so: How can crime measurement ever be apolitical?
COMPSTAT in NYC has since 1994 been touted as state-of-the-art police performance evaluation. Perhaps, thanks to Adrian Schoolcraft, we criminologists will learn to stop being mesmerized by crime and criminality counts. For me, letting go of crime and criminality counting has refocused my attention on confronting and defusing violence that really matters in the lives of my friends and me. My thanks go to Adrian Schoolcraft and Ira Glass at This American Life for validating my rejection of criminology as usual. This one of those days that reinforces my sense of professional sanity--hal


  1. Right on; I couldn't agree more, Hal. Yesterday's news of quotas for NYPD's use of COMPSTAT call into question the entire legitimacy of the "known" crime problem.

  2. I just came across your blog while doing a google search after listening to TAL on the radio. Amazing story. I'm relieved to hear that people are realizing what bunk the COMPSTAT is, and alarmed at how Mr. Schoolcraft was treated.